Second half scoring drought comes back to bite the Bucs
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 19, 2014) – The ETSU women’s basketball dropped a heartbreaking 63-62 decision to USC Upstate on Sunday inside Brooks Gym following a driving lay-in from the Spartans’ Alex Stanford with two seconds remaining.
With its fourth-straight loss, ETSU drops to 5-11 on the season and 1-4 in Atlantic Sun play, while Upstate improves to 7-9 overall and 2-3 in league action.
The first half of the contest was highlighted with back and forth play featuring seven ties and two lead changes. The Bucs limited the Spartans to 38 percent shooting in the half and dominated Upstate on the boards, 25-16. Though the Blue and Gold were playing solid defense and cleaning the glass, ETSU’s inconsistency on offense proved to be problematic. During the period, the Bucs turned the ball over 11 times resulting in 12 Spartans’ points off these miscues. The Blue and Gold was able to take advantage of opportunities at the free-throw line in the half with 7-of-10 makes. With time winding down in the period, Shawn Randall (Orlando, Fla.) attacked the basket and laid it in with two seconds left to send the Bucs into halftime leading, 30-29.
As has become the norm for ETSU, the Blue and Gold came out of the break energized and took it to the Spartans early. The Bucs were able to compile a 9-2 run over the first two minutes of the period to take a 39-31 lead. ETSU continued to maintain a firm lead over the next 10 minutes, highlighted by a Brianna McQueen (Jonesboro, Ga.) jumper with 8:14 left to put the Blue and Gold up, 56-45. After securing its largest lead of the game of 11 points, the Bucs went frigid with a nearly four-minute scoring drought as the Spartans continued to chip away at their deficit. Leading by one point, 62-61, with less than thirty seconds to play, a point-blank shot by ETSU went errant which allowed Upstate a final possession to take the lead. The Spartans’ Alex Stanford proceeded to attack the basket and lay it in with two seconds remaining to seal the game, 63-62, in Upstate’s favor.
The Spartans featured three double-figure scorers including Brittany Clency with 14 and Sharmayne Edwards and Alex Stanford both with 11. Meanwhile, ETSU also featured a trio of double-figure scorers highlighted by a season-high 13 points from senior Randall as well as 12 from McQueen and 11 from Maria Bond (Macon, Ga.). Additionally, Serena Clark (Stone Mountain, Ga.) grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with eight points.
Upstate shot a sub-par 35 percent from the field and an even worse 25 percent (3-of-12) from three, but turned the Bucs over 21 times resulting in 20 points off these takeaways. The Spartans also registered 26 points in the paint, nailed 14-of-21 free throws and got 30 points from its bench.
The Blue and Gold’s penchant to turn the ball over was costly, as well as the failure to take advantage of second opportunities. ETSU was able to gather 14 offensive rebounds but only turned these additional chances into six points. The Bucs also struggled to cash in from the charity stripe with 11 misses (18-of-29) and found trouble from behind the arc with only 4-of-13 makes. ETSU did assist on 10 of its 20 made field goals and got 21 points from its reserves.
The Bucs will continue conference play at home on Thursday, Jan. 23, when they welcome Kennesaw State to the ETSU/MSHA Athletics Center at 4 p.m. in the first game of a women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader.
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